Home / News / India /  SC directs all police stations & investigation agency to install CCTV cameras

The Supreme Court on Wednesday passed a landmark order directing all police stations and investigation agencies across the country to install CCTV camera with night visions and audio recordings in order to ensure police accountability at the police/investigation stations.

The apex court bench headed by Justice Rohitna Fali Nariman directed the States and Union Territories governments have been directed to look into the compliance of the installation of the cameras with audio devices at the police stations in their state.

The three-judge bench order stated that the cameras installed should include detailed coverage of the lock-ups, enteries and exits of the station and the interrogations rooms.

The places of installation of cameras with audio devises include the office of Central Bureau of Investigation, Enforcement Directorate, National Investigation Agency, Narcotic ControlBureau, department of Revenue Intelligence, Serious Fraud Investigation Offices and other Central agency office where the enforcement carries out the interrogation of the people.

The order clarified that states where there the provision of electricity and internet is not there; at those places it is the duty of the State/ Union Territories government to provide the said service expeditiously which may include solar/wind power.

The bench also comprising Justices KM Joseph and Aniruddha Bose has also directed the SHO of the police stations concerned to ensure that the maintenance, working and recording of the CCTVs footage.

The case has been highlighted and before the Top court bench post the allegations of custodial torture in Punjab.

The judgment passed today categorically stated, "If the recording equipment, available in the market today, does not have the capacity to keep the recording for 18 months but for a lesser period of time, it shall be mandatory for all States, Union Territories and the Central Government to purchase one which allows storage for the maximum period possible," the Court clarified.

Explaining the importance of CCTV footage, the judgement held, “The Commission/Court can then(in case “ there is information of force being used at police stations resulting in serious injury and/or custodial deaths") immediately summon CCTV camera footage in relation to the incident for its safe keeping, which may then be made available to an investigation agency in order to further process the complaint made to it."

The 12-page order asserted that the directions have to be executed within six weeks from today. The Union of India has also been directed to file an affidavit in which it will update this Court on the constitution and workings of the Central Oversight Body, providing all the details. The case will be next heard on 27 January.

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